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Barbara Longmore's Complete Body Thai Massage Course notes
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Barbara Longmore
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May 5, 2017 - 10:27 am
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MODULE 1: I am feeling good after reading, my first module. I think, I will purchase a small notebook tomorrow to keep written notes on important points, i discover in the videos. I still like reading, a paper version when i need to review. I didnt realize how many different parts of the body can be utilized to give someone a massage! I am a small person so i think it will be important to me to use the traditional floor mat for Thai massage. I also didnt realize all the different ways you can help someone unblock their energy. I have too many people who want to be my practice partner! Maybe, it will be good to practice on different people to get a more varied response. I love the dance aspect of the Thai massage n I think my Tai Chi experience will help me with this. I really want to be intune with my practice partner and I like the idea of being able to feel and connect with them and not just give a cold technical robotic like therapy. Cheers, Barbara Longmore

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May 5, 2017 - 11:27 am
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Hi Barbara, welcome to the Complete Thai Massage course.

Thai Massage is a revelation in many ways. It is quite a bit different and also more complex than Western Swedish-style massage. It offers a huge amount of options for working with people, everything from gentle relaxation to strong therapeutic work.

Your Tai Chi experience will definitely help you to get a feel for it. I had also practiced Tai Chi and Qigong before I ever started with Thai Massage, and this has influenced my style of Thai Massage. 

I am about as far away from doing "cold robotic" work as you can get, although Thai Massage is often practiced in just this mechanical way unfortunately. I think you will feel very comfortable with this course. Smile

Also please take a moment and familiarize yourself with our certification check list to make sure that it is all organized and that we are on the same wave length:

Certification Check List

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Barbara Longmore
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May 8, 2017 - 10:02 am
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MODULE 2: 

I understand the concept of transferring your emotions, your level of relaxation and even your purpose while you "dance" with your practice partner. I really like the imagery of Thai massage "as a dance". I feel like it would help to have a rhythm between myself and my partner. It would just make it feel more like a natural occurance between the two of us. Like Tai Chi, as i practice Thai massage, I want my movements to flow and not feel stiff or awkward.

I think we both enjoyed practicing the Chi machine. I am 135 pounds and he is 245 pounds but I had no problem getting his hips to move as I rocked back and forth on my heels. At first his legs felt heavy but i realized that i wasnt resting the back of my hands on my thighs. I had lifted them slightly to get his hips moving.  He said he really felt that his lower back, the area behind his upper thighs, behind his knees, ( i think, i will study an anatomy map, in the future, so I can explain the proper area, I am discussing) and his sides received a nice massage. He said, it felt like it would be good for his lower back. I was thrilled ?

I then asked him to perform the technique on me. I just wanted to feel what it was like! I could really feel it on the base of my spine. I think the resting break, at the end is important. My feet were tingling but I think that was still from the sensation of rocking on my heels when i was performing the Chi machine on him.

Cheers, Barbara Longmore

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May 8, 2017 - 10:58 pm
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That's quite a weight difference. You will find throughout this course that I give many suggestions for accommodating size and weight differences. However it is also important to try to practice on partners with different sizes and weights. Often one technique will work very well on one particular person, but not equally well on someone else. The only way to find those things out is by working on different body types.

Also some techniques will feel very differently to you as the therapist, depending on your partner's size and weight. Some techniques should not be done at all on much heavier persons to avoid strain on your own body.

The heavier your partner is, the more important it becomes to make best use of your body, i.e. using correct ergonomics and only working with your body weight instead of muscle power.

Thai Massage has a big advantage over most other massage systems, and that is that you can use many body parts which allows you to have much more power with much less effort compared to trying to do everything with your hands. You will learn a lot about this in this course.

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Barbara Longmore
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May 13, 2017 - 8:45 am
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MODULE 3..I found that I had to separate the different foot massage movements by description and a small diagram for each, in my Thai massage diary. I ended up with 7 distinct techniques. I know its going to take lots of practice to make them really "flow". Number 2..the circular n twisting technique, i think will take the longest to master. I just felt the other movements came more naturally to me. In this case, it didnt matter that my partner is so much heavier than me. I did have to ask him to tell me when it really felt good and so I changed up the positions of my fingers to adjust to what was giving him some pleasure. It sure makes a difference when you get instant feedback! 

Cheers, Barbara Longmore

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May 13, 2017 - 10:33 am
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You are right, the circular movement is the most challenging to learn. However the issue with the description and the diagrams will resolve itself in the very next module! Smile

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Barbara Longmore
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May 17, 2017 - 10:09 pm
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MODULE 4: Have you ever had that feeling when the light bulb turns in over your head? I felt it after studying this midule. During Mod 3, the first foot massage section, I was so busy drawing pictures and drawing where your hands were (not watching your whole body!) that I was so caught up in the mechanics of the moves and not in the conceptual part if it. I think, I feel comfortable now that I know the general type of moves we can do with our partners on their feet.  I need to put my whole body in to the move because it is less pressure on my own muscles and I am using my body weight, more! Feedback from my partner, again, was very important. Its funny! The first new move in this section reminded me when I knead dough! I enjoyed practicing the new circular positions. 

Cheers, Barbara Longmore

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May 18, 2017 - 12:58 am
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So my prediction from my previous post came true! Smile

No doubt, we have to learn the mechanics, but if we get stuck in them, practicing  Thai Massage is  not fun. When you allow yourself to get more into a conceptual, flowing mode, it feels a lot better to you and your client.

Of course in the very beginning of the course this is the hardest to do, but the longer you practice, the more this flow will develop. You will find quite a few tips regarding this in the course, and there are several summary modules which will also be very helpful for putting it all together.

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Barbara Longmore
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May 24, 2017 - 2:30 am
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MODULE 5: I like repetition!! Some of these leg warming moves, I have practiced on my partner's feet, previously. I understand that you have to be flexible and intuitive for each particular client. I know people who have had a massage and they felt good but didnt get the attention they wanted on their problem areas! Obviously, you cant just do the same movements on every client or you are not listening to their needs. 

I found the push n pull movement a little tricky. I find when my left hand is doing something different to my right hand then I have to concentrate more☺ I am wondering if I am going to slow practicing the Modules.  Shama, did you say what the time limit to complete all the Modules is? I am going at my own pace but then I try to go back and practice from the beginning again...like the chi machine is my partners favorite. Cheers, Barbara Longmore

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May 24, 2017 - 11:09 am
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Don't worry about time limits. Just proceed at your own pace. You are doing it exactly right, you need to keep going back to the beginning and repeat it all from there. That's the only way to get good at it.

What you wrote in the first paragraph of your post is spot on. You are clearly understanding the essence of massage and healing arts. It's not a mechanical sequence of techniques, but an intuitive, flexible process.

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Barbara Longmore
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June 1, 2017 - 9:51 pm
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MODULE 6: You really do have to alter your way to massage someone who is very slim to someone who is very thick with large muscles. Fortunately, my friends come in all sizes! I have one friend who I have practiced on who is very slim and has back packed around the world. She has been bruised by massages, in the past. This is when I can definitely use my soft touch and my fingers with someone, of her statue. On the other side, my husband who is a hundred pounds more than me, is perfect for practicing using my forearms on his thick legs! I still am not going to press down on him but "sink" my body weight down in a feeling of softness for him. I dont want to use my muscles just my body weight. Thats when it feels comfortable for me, as well!! My favorite position from this module was the elephant walking with my arms straight.

Cheers, Barbara Longmore

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June 1, 2017 - 10:27 pm
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That's excellent that you have practice partners of various sizes and body types. Practicing Thai Massage only on one person will give you a very limited perspective. You want to develop your skills across a wide range of body types. That's when you learn the most because you will naturally learn to adapt and modify and be creative and tune into people a lot more than if you practice only on one person.

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June 8, 2017 - 10:36 pm
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MODULE 7: I really like playing Sherlock Holmes and looking for clues about the particular person's body. So far I have checked out all my co-worker's angle of their feet to figure out if their hips are restricted or twisted or relaxed and open. I like that we are learning to read the body in order to see what our cluents are capable of but also where they will need more warm up time before any stretch is performed. The elephant walk, steady n slow, is a good warm up before stretching the legs. I forget to synchronize my breathing when i bend over...while I am shifting my weight gently elongating rhe leg muscle. I found the curcular hip lift cross pull stretch the hardest and I will need lots of practice because its your body weight that is suppose to be making the circle and not my own muscles. 

Cheers, Barbara Longmore

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June 9, 2017 - 2:25 am
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Glad to hear we have a Sherlock Holmes in our community! Laugh

Anyway, you are totally correct. I have had lots of success with my own "Sherlock Holmes" escapades. It helps me in my treatments, and clients have more confidence in you if you can ascertain what their issues are instead of just rubbing away.

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Barbara Longmore
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June 14, 2017 - 10:30 pm
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MODULE 8: So far, I think the leg stretches have been the trickest for me to practice. I do not want to be mechanical about it but just give someone a nice relaxing massage. My primary practice person is a hundred pounds more than myself and almost a foot taller. I found using the power technique where I actually put my shoulder into the stretch allowed me better control over the leg stretch. He is much to long for me to face him and have his foot up into my crotch area. Approaching him from the side made it much more manageable. He is also not as flexible and his muscles are more stiff so the rocking techniques going up n down n sideways were beneficial with this person. Thats just one of the things i like about Thai Massage so far is that you as the giver can adapt and alter your technique depending on the condition of the body of the receiver? 

Cheers, Barbara Longmore

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June 15, 2017 - 11:06 pm
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Well, the leg stretches are kind of the trickiest part to learn, especially since they are happening in the beginning of the training. The good part is that they are the foundation for a lot of other techniques, and once you get through them, you are well prepared for whatever else comes afterwards. In other words, there is not an everlasting learning curve here, but the learning curve flattens out a bit.

Yes, this is one of the great things about Thai Massage, that you can adapt your techniques to the body type of your client. This is not so much possible with Swedish massage, but in Thai Massage you can just change the technique and suddenly you have a lot more power. Without this, all those tiny Thai women would never manage to work on all those much bigger men.

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Barbara Longmore
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June 22, 2017 - 6:06 am
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MODULE 9: I really noticed that my main practice person is not aware when he is holding his muscles tightly. I think, it is a key point to mention to your client that they can relax a muscle  and that you will support them. I cannot practice power stretches on my main practice person but I did practice the bouncing, the rotating and the rocking techniques! It is great that there are so many ways to help people stretch as there will be so many different body types to massage. One of my practice people was a massage therapist, for a long time, before she had to have surgery on her hand. With her, I can practice the power versions of the stretches but I still ask her to rate it from one to ten. I think clients relax even more when they feel they have a sense of control over their sessions.

Cheers, Barbara Longmore

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June 22, 2017 - 9:29 pm
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Two very important points you made:

  • Using communication with the client as a tool in our massage repertoire is essential. I have had to make so many clients aware of their resistance and their holding patterns. If we make them aware of it, it is much easier to work on them.
  • Clients definitely feel better when they have a sense of control over the session. That's why we need to work WITH our clients, not just ON them.
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Barbara Longmore
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July 1, 2017 - 3:58 am
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MODULE 10: I really like the leg stretch where we are ankle to ankle and I am just lifting my heel. I envision the day when I don't have to look back at the videos to remember the basic move but thats just the mechanical aspect of Thai massage and that will come as long as I keep practicing. One of the important parts of practicing is being aware that my state of comfort and  relaxation is transferred to my client. I have to remember to be "in the moment" when I am practicing with someone. You cannot effectively help someone if u are focused on your own grocery list! The "softness" mantra helps to keep you "in the now" and focusing on my breathing. I just started focusing on my hara, for energy. Just being aware that I can transfer my mental and physical states to my client is important to me! 

Cheers, Barbara Longmore

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July 1, 2017 - 11:14 am
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You just pointed out some of the more refined elements of Thai Massage. Yes, it does take some time before you are in a flow state and don't have to think about the techniques anymore. Many course students report that towards the end of the course they have more or less reached this state where it all starts to flow. So there is light at the end of the tunnel!Laugh

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